Fran Townsend resigned Monday as President Bush's top adviser at the White House on terrorism and homeland security after more than 4-1/2 years on the job. She previously served as a US attorney in Manhattan. No successor was named.

"To Read or Not to Read," an extensive new study on American reading habits released Monday by the National Endowment for the Arts, indicates a drop-off in reading proficiency and voluntary book reading in recent years. "We need to reconnect reading with pleasure and enlightenment," NEA chair Dana Gioia said.

A visit to Virginia's Berkeley Plantation was on President Bush's agenda Monday. English settlers held a thanksgiving service at the site in 1619, two years before the Pilgrims' feast in Massachusetts.

Food pantries nationwide are struggling to match a growing demand on their services, according to America's Second Harvest, the largest US hunger-relief group. Shrinking supplies of donated surplus food and less government help are cited as contributing factors.

Contract talks broke off Sunday between Broadway theater producers and striking stagehands, forcing more than two dozen shows to close over the lucrative Thanksgiving weekend.

The Bay Area Gardeners Foundation, an educational funding organization started by Mexican immigrant and gardening business owner Catalino Tapia, who never studied beyond sixth grade, has given $13,500 in college scholarships this year to students with no other means to attend, according to media reports.

The Houston Dynamo successfully defended their Major League Soccer title Sunday in Washington, beating the New England Revolution, 2-1, in a finals rematch. Above, Houston players accept the MLS Cup.

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